Institutionalizing Statelessness: The Revocation of Residency RIghts of Palestinians in East Jerusalem

This 2011 article examines the methods by which Israel institutionalizes statelessness among Palestinians from East Jerusalem through national citizenship and entry laws. Through the lens of the international legal framework, notably the right to a nationality, the prohibition on the arbitrary deprivation of nationality, and the anti-discrimination principle, the article focuses on three policies under which Palestinian East Jerusalemites are rendered stateless: the “center of life” policy, the application and waiting period requirement for children applying for temporary and permanent residency, and the implementation of the “loyalty oath” for non-Jews seeking citizenship through naturalization. Then, after describing the impact of the policies on the individuals and families affected, as well as on other states, the article lays out the primary ways in which the policies violate international legal obligations and principles, namely the arbitrary deprivation of rights and the anti-discrimination principle. Finally, while mindful of the sovereign right of States to implement citizenship laws, the article concludes by prescribing ways in which the international statelessness protection framework might be strengthened and reformulated into a preventative model to ensure that Palestinian East Jerusalemites maintain their legal connection to their city of birth and are not rendered stateless – the status of the rightless.

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